China Diary

Day 100: Cameras everywhere!

Digital actors? Even crazier VFX? Higher resolution? Virtual reality? Pffht…

The future of filmmaking is in capturing as much of the material you can at one take! Visual effects have made it easy to paint out cameras, tracks and light stands, and drones have given an additional perspective to the filmmakers without massively expensive helicopter shots. When we started to shoot Iron Sky in 2010, we had two cameras covering everything; when we shot Iron Sky The Coming Race, we had always three cameras on the set. With Iron Sky: The Ark we have five to seven cameras capturing as much as possible, plus five drones buzzing around us constantly. Now, the only thing missing from this kind of a setup is a film camera that could do focus stacking, so we wouldn’t have to mind if the focus puller hits the mark or not.

Yesterday, which marked my 100th day in China, was great fun. We shot a beautiful scene with great cast, revving motorbikes and great location – an old, abandoned factory which we lit up and made alive. The scene itself worked really nice, we found a nice little detail around which we created the interaction between the actors, and working with our new drone team we were able to do some really big scale shots to pump up the production values. Although we had a lot to do, having half a dozen cameras everywhere helped us to get through the day.

In the morning, after the 15-hour-day I stumbled back to my hotel. Outside my room, I saw two working guys who had nasty looking instruments in their hands. Never minding about them, I stumbled across the hallway into my room and fell asleep nearly when standing, only to be kicked up awake to the beautiful sounds of an angle grinder screaming right outside my door.

I tried explaining to the main lobby that we are working night shifts, you can’t do that renovation in our fleer in the morning hours, but the language barrier was too heavy. Thus, the sleep was not only short, but very unsatisfying…

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